Parents' concern over teacher shortage

EDUCATION chiefs in Suffolk say there is still a shortage of maths teachers in the county - despite successful efforts to recruit more staff.The problem was highlighted by the situation at Deben High in Felixstowe, where parents have been forced to pay for private tuition because they are unhappy with the lack of maths teachers at the school.

By Richard Cornwell

EDUCATION chiefs in Suffolk say there is still a shortage of maths teachers in the county - despite successful efforts to recruit more staff.

The problem was highlighted by the situation at Deben High in Felixstowe, where parents have been forced to pay for private tuition because they are unhappy with the lack of maths teachers at the school.

Use of supply teachers and the absence of regular staff who know the students and their needs is causing great frustration.

Parents Chris and Tracy Gittins , of College Green, Felixstowe, said a number of children from the school were having to get extra help with the core subject to make sure they pass their GCSEs.

A spokesman for the education service at the county council said: “There is a national shortage of maths teachers, recognised by the national Training and Development Agency making maths a designated shortage subject.

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“This situation is reflected in Suffolk, despite continuing success in local recruitment of maths teachers and in attracting people skilled in maths willing to train as teachers.

“Seven maths graduates have joined a taster course in Suffolk this year, designed to introduce them to what it would be like to work as a maths teacher.

“Council recruitment staff are involved in fairs and marketing of opportunities in Suffolk, but the market is very competitive with other counties and cities vying for the same staff.”

The council's spring vacancy survey showed 14 places unfilled for maths teachers. Most vacancies are for newly-qualified or main grade teachers.

The spokesman said: “We are hopeful that most of these posts will be filled in the near future, and we will continue to support schools in their recruitment activities.”

Deben High headteacher Terry Ring said the school was working hard to minimise the affect on students' learning. He could understand pupils' and parents' anxiety and had written to the parents of the pupils affected and also spoken to pupils in their maths classes about this situation.

Are you concerned about a shortage of maths teachers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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